Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Dec 17, 2021)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Friday, December 17, 2021.
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BYJU'S in talks to go public via SPAC at $48B valuation: Sources

BYJU'S is in advanced discussions for a public listing in the US in partnership with Michael Klein's special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that could value the Indian edtech giant at $48 billion, sources said.

Advanced discussions are ongoing with Churchill Capital's SPAC about the deal that could be completed in the next few months, sources close to the development said.

They added that BYJU'S — the most valued edtech startup in India — would raise about $4 billion at a valuation of about $48 billion.

Adda247 acquires UPSC test prep platform Study IQ Education for $20M

Leading online learning platform for central/state government jobs, Adda247 has acquired UPSC-focused edtech platform Study IQ Education for approx $20 million (around Rs 150 crore) in a cash and stock deal.

StudyIQ education claims to be India’s largest edtech platform targeted around UPSC and State PSC segment. As of now, the platform has an organic subscriber base of more than 11 million and gets close to 100 million views a month. Its gross revenue for FY 2020-2021 was Rs 33 crore with a growth of 3x over the previous financial year.

Infogain acquires Bengaluru-based app development SaaS startup NNT

Infogain on Thursday acquired Bengaluru-based Nggawe Nirman Technologies (NNT), a cloud-native app development startup that helps clients build platforms.

Commenting on the acquisition, Infogain CTO Sumant Ahuja said in the press release, “NNT's expertise in AWS cloud-native app development, containerisation, microservices and DevOps deepens our expertise across all three hyperscale clouds – Azure, GCP, and AWS.”

Both NNT and Infogain did not disclose the acquisition size.

The companies had been in talks to collaborate for a few projects prior to the acquisition. Rao adds that their synergy aligned with each company’s platform development and growth opportunities that Infogain’s customer base provides for NNT’s platform.

Cuemath strengthens leadership team with new appointments ahead of next growth phase

Math tutoring platform CueMath announces several new senior appointments as it continues the reorganization of its leadership team.

The company has appointed Samir Kulshresth as CFO, Nisha Popli as CHRO, Janardan Singh as Chief of Sales, and Anushray Gupta as Chief Product and Technology Officer. Samir and Nisha have joined Cuemath already, with Janardan and Anushray’s appointments effective from January 2022. All the new hires will report to Vivek Sunder, who was newly appointed as CEO in October.

According to the company statement, these key leadership appointments are critical to driving Cuemath’s international expansion, as it aims to double the number of students on its platform in 2022.

Paytail launches all-in-one QR code for partner merchants

Paytail, an active and fast-growing player in the offline BNPL market, has launched an all-in-One QR code for all the partner merchant stores.

With this QR code, merchants can offer zero-Cost EMIs on all their products irrespective of subventions from the brands. They would also receive the payment settlement instantaneously against the current delays these stores face from legacy players. Additionally, for shoppers, the ‘Scan and Pay’ feature in the application allows converting any transaction with partner stores into a zero-cost EMI.

Paytail is also planning a ‘Premium Re-Seller Programme’ in the coming months. The initiative is focused on dishing out more freebies for key merchants who sign-up for the program to help them convert more buyers.

Indian cricketer R Ashwin joins BridgeLabz classroom as part of the #TaketheBridge campaign

BridgeLabz Solutions LLP, an AWS-recognised incubator focused on solving tech employability, has recently launched the #TaketheBridge campaign, which focuses on providing 100 percent tech employability through an experiential learning approach.

R Ashwin, an Indian cricketer, also attended one of the BridgeLabz classroom sessions as part of the campaign. The off-spinner, who is an engineer by his educational background and also has experience of working in the IT industry before taking up cricket professionally, shared his experience with the candidates.

Through the #TaketheBridge campaign, BridgeLabz is inviting engineers, freshers in the IT domain, college students, and professionals in IT and engineering who want to upgrade to a high-paying tech job. The campaign promotes the platform's experiential learning approach to groom engineering talent.

Telangana govt, CoinSwitch Kuber, Lumos Labs launch The India Blockchain Accelerator

After successfully launching and supporting eight innovative startups in the first edition of the T-Block Accelerator, the Telangana Blockchain District, anchored by the Government of Telangana and crypto unicorn CoinSwitch Kuber today launched the India Blockchain Accelerator.

This second edition of the accelerator programme is aimed at empowering the thriving blockchain startup ecosystem in India and sustaining its commitment to foster the creation of ‘Blockchain Ecosystem of the future’ in India.

Edtech startup ByteLearn raises $9.5M led by 9Unicorns, Chiratae Ventures, Leo Capital

ByteLearn, an AI-powered teaching assistant for students and teachers, announced that 9Unicorns, Chiratae Ventures and Leo Capital have led a $9.5 million seed round of funding in the company. The startup will utilise the funds raised for product development, global expansion, and enhancing technological capabilities.

The round also saw participation from Venture Catalysts, Goodwater Capital, Earlsfield Capital, Kettleborough VC, PitchRight Ventures, AdvantEdge VC, Srini Rai (Growthstory), Anand Chandrasekaran (Facebook, F9), Arun Tadanki (Ex-Yahoo), Vikas Choudhury (Jio), Ravi Bhushan (BrightChamps), Giri Malpani (Malpani family), Abhishek Goyal (Traxcn), Ramakant Sharma (Livpsace), Ravi Garikipati (Ex Flipkart), Saurabh Saxena (Uable), Venkatesh SarvaSiddhi (Springer Nature), Tej Kapoor (Fosun), Alok Mittal (Ex. Canaan Partners), Ashish Sharma (Innoven), Abhishek Agarwal (Facebook) among others.

NowFloats launches Zadinga app management app for India's retail merchants

NowFloats announced the launch of Zadinga app, a platform dedicated to enabling merchants to digitise all aspects of a retail merchants’ operations from managing stock, multiple payment types, to setting up an online store in minutes with an in-built service of local delivery.

Users can also keep a tab on their real-time performance; the app gives built-in reports which provide an overview of how the business is doing. Additionally, there is a facility that lets users check their daily, monthly, and yearly sales, and compare them with past performances.

The app will facilitate simpler checkout and payments; merchants can collect payments via debit card, credit card, UPI, mobile wallets or one-time payment links. Digital Receipts also ease the process, they can receive payment confirmation receipts via SMS and WhatsApp.

MapmyIndia, MoRTH, IIT Madras sign MOU to make road travel a safer bet

Government of India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, IIT Madras and MapmyIndia, today signed an MoU for collaboration on driver and road safety technologies, and jointly launched India’s best and FREE-TO-USE navigation app service for all 130+ crore Indians.

The MapmyIndia app, enhanced with the support of MoRTH and IIT Madras, provides road safety alerts to users about upcoming accident hazards while driving.

By using this navigation app, users will get voice and visual alerts about upcoming accident-prone zones, speed breakers, sharp curves, potholes etc, to ensure they can drive carefully and avoid accidents. Further through the app, users and authorities can also report and broadcast accidents, unsafe areas, road and traffic issues on the map to help benefit other users, which will be analysed by IIT Madras and MapmyIndia and will then be used by the Government of India to improve road conditions in future.

Family offices, UHNIs, increase allocation into startup investments, says report

Indian startups will continue to see increased traction from the domestic family offices and ultra high networth individuals (UHNIs) who are allocating higher share of their investible capital into this segment, according to a report.

The Private Market Monitor report by Trica in partnership with AZB & Partners and EY said that over 40 percent family offices have doubled their allocation to private markets in the past five years and large cheque writers are preferring to have direct participation in a startup’s capitalisation table. This report is a survey of over 100 family offices and UHNIs.

“Family offices in India have evolved over time and they want to make a lot of investments into startups now,” said Nimesh Kampani, Co-founder and CEO of trica.

D2C startup The Clownfish raises funding from Velocity

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup The Clownfish has raised an undisclosed amount from Velocity.in, India's largest revenue-based financier. This is the first round of external financing The Clownfish has raised.

The Clownfish, a luggage lifestyle brand, offers customers high-quality bags and handbags at affordable prices. Its products range from travel briefcases, messenger bags to trendy backpacks, sling bags, rainwear and more. The venture was co-founded by Mahesh Subbiah and Kushal Bhansali — with an aim to create a brand that resonates with the middle-class lifestyle.

Gaming platform Tournafest secures pre-seed funding of Rs 3.05 Cr

Tournafest, a one-stop destination for the gamer community of India, has secured pre-seed funding of Rs 3.05 crore from a clutch of investors and angels. The Rajasthan-based startup was founded in April 2021 by fresh graduates of IIT Roorkee. Investors in this round include India Quotient, FirstCheque, Maninder Gulati (Global CSO Oyo Rooms), Abhinav Sinha (Global CPO and COO Oyo Rooms), and other prominent angels.

The founding members, and 2021 graduates of IIT Roorkee — Ayush Agarwal and Kaustubh Trivedi — are assisted by Utkarsh Yadav, Arun Jhajharia, and Shubham Bhardwaj to conceptualise and establish Tournafest.

Tournafest is exclusively designed for the fast-growing gamer community of India. It aims to provide gamers with the opportunity to compete in tournaments and practice scrims hosted by leading gaming communities of India.

Edited by Kanishk Singh